Egypt discovers what may be oldest human footprint

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Egyptian archaeologists have found what they said could be the oldest human footprint in history in the country’s western desert, the Arab country’s antiquities’ chief said on Monday.

“This could go back about two million years,” said Zahi Hawass, the secretary general of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. “It could be the most important discovery in Egypt,” he told Reuters.

Archaeologists found the footprint, imprinted on mud and then hardened into rock, while exploring a prehistoric site in Siwa, a desert oasis.

Scientists are using carbon tests on plants found in the rock to determine its exact age, Hawass said.

Khaled Saad, the director of prehistory at the council, said that based on the age of the rock where the footprint was found, it could date back even further than the renowned 3-million year-old fossil Lucy, the partial skeleton of an ape-man, found in Ethiopia in 1974.

Most archaeological interest in Egypt is focused on the time of the pharaohs.

Previously, the earliest human archaeological evidence from Egypt dated back around 200,000 years, Saad said.

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